Feb 27, 2003
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From a press release issued by Yamaha:<BR><BR>MotoGP pre-season IRTA Tests <BR>Thursday 27 February 2003 (day 2 of 2) <BR>Estoril, Portugal <BR><BR>YAMAHA RIDERS UP FRONT IN ESTORIL <BR><BR>The MotoGP pre-season IRTA tests in Estoril concluded today with Yamaha riders Alex Barros and Carlos Checa leading the pack. The morning rain started to dry out this afternoon enabling the riders to make the most of the time they had left after the wash-out of yesterday's session. <BR><BR>Carlos Checa was the lone rider today for the Fortuna Yamaha Team, as team-mate Marco Melandri flew back to Bologna in Italy after injuring his collarbone in a tumble yesterday. Checa tried to find a better balance with the suspension on his Yamaha YZR-M1, and tested Michelin tyres. He completed a total of 72 laps with a best lap time of 1:40.04, not managing to better his 2002 pole position time of 1:39.793. Gauloises Yamaha Team rider Alex Barros topped today's times with a best of 1:39.69. <BR><BR>Checa was quite pleased with his day's performance, "We have had a short amount of decent track time but we tried to work with the bike as best we could", commented the Spaniard. "The balance of the bike from track to track seems good. We did more Michelin tyre testing today focusing on the front tyre. The track conditions could have been better this afternoon, I'm disappointed I didn't go faster but I was quite consistent and was very close to my pole position time from last year. We still want to improve, and will keep working." <BR><BR>Team Manager Geoff Crust commented, "The weather was awful but we still achieved a certain amount of work that we needed to get through. I'm happy that Carlos managed to get consistent laps with his 2003-spec M1. We have now scheduled an extra test in Barcelona, and we hope to get good times there. I hope that Marco will be back to full fitness then. <BR><BR>"The team has worked extremely hard - although we have had to add extra testing time they are keeping up the same level of hard work." <BR><BR>The Fortuna Yamaha Team's extra test will take place in Barcelona, Spain on 12th and 13th March, followed by the next MotoGP IRTA group test there on 15th and 16th March. <BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>